Explain the Role Played by the Supernatural in Macbeth

1709 Words Mar 1st, 2011 7 Pages
Explain the Role Played by the Supernatural in Macbeth

The play begins with a supernatural scene, where the three witches meet and give many clues as to who they are or what they have control over,

“…We three meet again in thunder, lighting or in rain? When the battle’s lost and won….That will be ere the set of sun….There to meet with Macbeth.”

This scene sets the atmosphere for the rest of the play. If this scene was not there it would be difficult for the audience to understand how later scenes are linked or how these three women can tell Macbeth’s future. Also if elements of the supernatural were not used in Act 1 Scene 1, as they have been, the witches could not be shown as sinister and evil. These two elements of horror,
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Macbeth declares, “What treachery is this, which of you have done this”, his fellows are confused and some are apprehensive and begin to link King Duncan’s death with Macbeth. But none speak of what they think instead they try to calm the maddened king. After this supernatural occurrence some, more strongly, believe that Macbeth had a hand in the Kings murder. This supernatural happening is very important, since it is one of the first signs of Macbeth’s fear and guilt. This scene was designed with great subtlety to make Shakespeare’s audience spit on Macbeth’s face when he began to fear for himself, even after committing the murder of a king and having his closest companion murdered.

Beyond this scene the play becomes more sinister and the atmosphere transforms into cold, darkness and raging evil. Macbeth goes to the moor to meet the witches where he makes them promise to answer his questions and they conjure up supernatural apparitions to answer him. At first these apparitions seem to be on Macbeth’s side and do not alarm him in any way and when told by the witches, “None of women born shall harm Macbeth”, he feels more confident. As he thinks more about the apparitions he feels there is something darker about them. Shakespeare uses the supernatural apparition to show the audience that evil is present. These supernatural apparitions are as important as the earlier predictions made by the
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